TAG Heuer: moving upscale

TAG Heuer S.A. is introducing its 6000 series wrist watch collection, which will be priced higher than previous sports watches. The 30 styles in the collection will cost from $1,200 to $2,900 and be available in stainless steel, 18-karat gold or a steel-gold combination. The 6000 line will begin limited distribution in Sep 1992. Although TAG Heuer sells 700,000 watches a year internationally, only around 2000 of the 6000 series are expected to be sold in the US in the first year. The product launch will include a choreographed dance piece by the Feld Ballet/NY, sponsored by TAG Heuer.

TAG Heuer, the watch line that over the past few years has become a leader in sportsĀ watches, is introducing a new exclusive collection that will move the brand into higher price points.

The collection, dubbed the 6000, is in either stainless steel or a combination of stainless and 18-karat gold. This is the first time the brand has used fine metals.

“The move is consistent with our strategy to go upscale,” said Luc Perramond, president of Heuer Time & Electronics Corp., TAG Heuer’s U.S. subsidiary. He said the firm has tripled the average TAG Heuer price point over the past four years.

Perramond said the average TAG Heuer retail currently is $750 to $800, and the new 6000 collection will range from $1,200 to $2,900 retail.

He said next year an 18-karat gold watch will be introduced.

Perramond said worldwide TAG Heuer sells 700,000 units a year. He said the 6000 series will have limited distribution, sold only in a few select stores the first year. He expects to sell only 2,000 in the U.S. the first year. The watches will be distributed in September.

“We will always stay in sport watches. We’re not looking to do dressy watches,” Perramond said. “We have built a strong brand image, and with improved quality and functions we have been able to move into higher price points.”

The 6000, which is currently hitting stores in Europe and the Far East, features 30 sporty styles. It has a patented bracelet with curved links designed to mold to the shape of the wrist or is available with a saddle-stitched leather strap in a range of fashion colors.

The 6000 watches possess the same technical features as the other TAG Heuer watches, including water resistance, a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and luminous hands and hour markers. The faces come in gray or white.

As part of the 6000 series launch, TAG Heuer is supporting the Feld Ballet/NY summer preview season. Eliot Feld, director and choreographer, has choreographed a dance to commemorate the launch of TAG Heuer’s 6000 collection, and the performance will debut Aug. 18.

Perramond said this is first time the watch firm has supported the performing arts; past sponsorships have been exclusively sporting events such as skiing, yachting and car racing.

“We chose an art that is technical and athletic to support and help us build our brand image,” Perramond said.

The firm was started in 1860 by Edouard Heuer in St. Imier, Switzerland. From the beginning it focused on precision timekeeping, and was appointed the official timekeeper for the 1920, 1924, 1928 and 1980 Olympic Games.

In 1985, Heuer joined forces with TAG (Techniques d’Avant-Garde), a Paris-based technology firm that supported sports-related activities.